Monday, November 7, 2011

Life on the Rock

So Sister Christensen and I must be made of steel because the English are hands-down the proudest people on earth (close second is New Jersey; coincidence? I think not.) Christensen says they are cold fish. At least, that's the way it is on the mainland. Our experience doing missionary work here is so different. The Portuguese community is so humble and happy to hear about Jesus, a lot of immigrants from Poland talk to us about prayer and how important it is, and even the super posh business people are all kinds of polite and they'll stop and talk to us on the way to their busy meetings.

Christensen and I have been tearing it up! She dies at conference time, and I think Sister Jonutz' quietness really had a toll on her, as this is an island in the middle of the Channel where pdays are solo and district meetings happen over the phone. It's a really good experience to chat with her about life and films and we've discovered very similar interests :) Happiness all around! I hope we're still together at Christmastime. The office did buy a new bike for her, and we'll need another 6' sister after her because I DEFINITELY can't fit onto a 20" frame, no sir. You'll be happy to know that I'm getting really good at cycling all over creation, including tiny, windy European roads and between cars and such. I think the Lord protects His missionaries, which means when I get back to uni I'll definitely get hit.

Saturday was an incredibly stressful baptism, and Sunday was an equally stressful confirmation, but Holly and Linda made it! Huzzah! It was bishop's first convert baptism (He served in France). Robert is still doing really well; he's just lightening up the more we see him, and I'm excited for him to progress even more. I'm always glad when people say they don't have much of a religious background because in England, the Church and how it operates is straight weird. Compared to the vigils and evensong and cathedrals and mass and even the crazy spiritualist churches where they talk to the dead, we really stick out. So we're always a little concerned about our investigators coming to church and comparing it to what they're used to--Robert has very little experience, like Steve, so everything is just accepted. It's nice. I hope missionary work in the spirit world is like this.

Craziest teach: Brother Tiago and Neleo met us in the park (6pm it's getting dark now) and we pulled two benches together. Neleo doesn't speak much English, (neither does Brother Tiago, honestly) so we did our best explaining the preearth life in very small words. Then David from Poland walked by and sat down to learn about the plan of salvation too. So our two Portuguese speakers started chatting about who-knows-what, David dug out his Polish Book of Mormon and Gospel Principles and started reading aloud, and THEN some guy swinging a bag of booze said his name was Shayne and he wanted to sit in too. He said some creeper thing to Christensen, and I was so out of my element at that point, I just started praying that these 4 guys wouldn't attack us in the dark. Gah. The Lord answered my prayer, Shayne got tired of hearing about Jesus and went to drink elsewhere, and we set up another appointment with David. Neleo looked as confused as we did, but Brother Tiago invited the Spirit back with his testimony of the Book of Mormon. So it wasn't a total loss.

Me and Christensen are getting along famously. Our study is staggered, so I'll study at half-six, and she'll study at eight. It's mostly so I'll wake up and we won't interrupt each other's personal study. She's getting to the end of her mission, and study gets really difficult at that point. This morning I studied about how to reclaim a bad ward, according to the advice given by the prophet Abinadi. Tomorrow I'll study how Alma and Amulek did it for the Zoramites. It's sound advice, and not beyond our abilities as missionaries. Sometimes there are serious problems beyond the help of the missionaries, and that needs to be addressed by the Stake Presidency, but as it is, we're on an island and we're all this ward's got to keep them learning the basics. I hope it works! We've got a place to go for Christmas and Christmas Eve--speaking of which, the cheapest way to phone home is to Skype, which means you'll need to get an account. We'll figure out a time that's not unreasonably early :)

Love from,
Sister Willard

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